In preparation for the coming prompt payment and adjudication legislation under the Construction Act, the OAA has been collecting information and monitoring what is being said about the legislation and how it will be implemented. Perhaps surprisingly to some architects, adjudication is expected to have more of an impact on practices than will prompt payment.
Adjudication is intended to provide a quick and inexpensive binding interim resolution of construction disputes. Members may find themselves involved as a party to adjudication, or may be asked by an owner to help prepare the owner’s defense where the owner is a party to adjudication. In either case, there will be limited time available to understand the item in dispute, review the material submitted by the claimant, collect pertinent information from the project files and compose a response.
Members should ensure that assisting owners with adjudication is part of the scope of services in the contract with the client. Also, as there is unlikely to be time to search for and secure the services of a lawyer once notice of adjudication is issued, members should consider selecting a lawyer in advance and putting them on a retainer for when the need arises. Members may consider it appropriate to advise clients to do likewise.
Members should also consider that the only way to respond in a timely manner may be to pull someone familiar with the project being adjudicated off their current project in order to deal with the adjudication. This may be very disruptive to the current project and to how it is being staffed.
At one symposium, senior construction lawyers strongly recommended that qualified architects and engineers become adjudicators rather than leaving it to lawyers or others to fulfil that role. The process of selecting adjudicators